Why are 1911 triggers so revered?


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pak29
September 23, 2011, 11:25 AM
Recently I've come across several references to the particularly crisp break of a 1911 trigger, such as in TheTruthAboutGuns' review (http://thetruthaboutguns.com/2011/08/jeffrey-lynch/gun-review-super-carry-pro-hd/) of the Kimber Super Carry Pro HD, in which the author eloquently writes:

If you want to know why 1911s are the first choice for IDPA competitors, the Pro HD is a case in point. Itís as crisp as a freshly chilled head of Iceberg lettuce and cleaner than an OCD toilet seat, with a reset firm enough to shame a Sleep Number Bed showing 100 on the clock.

Is there some inherent design advantage to the trigger mechanism on 1911s that makes them crisper or superior to other guns in single-action mode? Is this merely a reflection of the quality and additional hand-fitting that you get when you lay out $800-3,000 that 1911s customarily cost?

I shoot a Ruger P95, and am fairly happy with the trigger in single-action mode. It does, however, have some creep before it breaks and does not break like the "glass-rod" ideal that I sometimes hear described. I like that it is a DA/SA gun because I like the SA mode when target shooting. Will a 1911 trigger change my world?

While I'm on it - how does the relative bargain Ruger sr1911 compare to the higher-priced Kimbers in terms of trigger quality?

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Nushif
September 23, 2011, 11:35 AM
From my little experience I find that the 1911 style trigger is very easy to use well.

It is short and light, meaning the average user has little to no chance to mess things up. This is probably (probably) because of the way it is designed. I find I have a lot more chance to screw up a perfectly good sight picture during a long trigger pull than the like ... 2mm pull the 1911 has.

It's not really a "superior" trigger as much as it's a very, very easy trigger to use well, at least for me.

pak29
September 23, 2011, 11:50 AM
Is it shorter or lighter by design than other guns in SA mode? I'm not comparing it to DA or SAO triggers.

I suppose the heavier-weight metal frames of 1911s also help the shooter capitalize on the trigger, reducing felt recoil and target re-acquisition time.

Nushif
September 23, 2011, 12:09 PM
Shorter ... YES! Lighter .. Depends. But yeah, it is basically an entirely different animal from a gun that is not purely SA.

Carter
September 23, 2011, 12:09 PM
Because its creation was the product holy enlightenment....I kid I kid.

I find it easier to use than any other trigger. I think its because of the lack of take up on the trigger. Its just squeeze and bang. I also like that it is pretty much a bar you push straight backwards, it feels and works better for me.

I don't own a 1911 though, just borrow a friends as much as possible =)

JTQ
September 23, 2011, 12:18 PM
It only moves on one plane, horizontally.

Other triggers have a pivot point and swing back and upward, like a pendulum.

rcmodel
September 23, 2011, 12:20 PM
And it's very easy to tune.

Giving the right sear jig and a little knowledge & skill, even a cave man can do it!

rc

KodiakBeer
September 23, 2011, 12:28 PM
A 1911 trigger is like a rifle trigger. Or, at least it can be tuned to break like a target rifle. You wouldn't choose a rifle with a mushy trigger, so why choose a handgun with a bad trigger?

daytodaze
September 23, 2011, 01:05 PM
+1 to JTQ

You pull the trigger straight back, directly into the frame. A good squeeze on a well-tuned gun and you can really do some amazing things with them.

That's not to say you couldn't do it with any other gun, but you'll need to master the trigger with a lot of practice to do it.

pak29
September 23, 2011, 03:53 PM
I hadn't even thought of the straight-back versus pivoting trigger. That's interesting.

Apocalypse-Now
September 23, 2011, 04:03 PM
shoot one.

Overkilll0084
September 23, 2011, 04:05 PM
I finally tore my 1911 down to bits and bare frame a while back and one thing I noticed: the simplicity. There are no linkages, pushrods or Rube Goldberg devices to detract from the process. Push on trigger, it's a straight shot to the sear releasing, no middleman.

Lubricant
September 23, 2011, 04:06 PM
Don't forget the double trigger bow.It assures force is distributed equally to the rearward motion.Get the bows and the channels they ride in polished up,and the bows spread just right[not that hard to do]and wow,pure trigger.

Zerodefect
September 23, 2011, 04:12 PM
Recently I've come across several references to the particularly crisp break of a 1911 trigger, such as in TheTruthAboutGuns' review (http://thetruthaboutguns.com/2011/08/jeffrey-lynch/gun-review-super-carry-pro-hd/) of the Kimber Super Carry Pro HD, in which the author eloquently writes:



Is there some inherent design advantage to the trigger mechanism on 1911s that makes them crisper or superior to other guns in single-action mode? Is this merely a reflection of the quality and additional hand-fitting that you get when you lay out $800-3,000 that 1911s customarily cost?

Just about all the 1911's have excellent triggers. Ed Brown and DW have the best I've felt. Then LesBaer. You can replace the Sear and Hammer very easy, just use a Ed Brown Sear Jig and an Arkansas stone. It's good to make sure your trigger bar is fitted well and burr free.
I shoot a Ruger P95, and am fairly happy with the trigger in single-action mode. It does, however, have some creep before it breaks and does not break like the "glass-rod" ideal that I sometimes hear described. I like that it is a DA/SA gun because I like the SA mode when target shooting. Will a 1911 trigger change my world?

I also started with a Ruger P95. Yes a 1911 will change your world. The P95's first DA trigger pull is very very stiff and slow. I hated that first shot out of the holster. The 1911 is much quicker.

But you have to master the proper grip and thumb safety operation. This takes some time to get used to.

While I'm on it - how does the relative bargain Ruger sr1911 compare to the higher-priced Kimbers in terms of trigger quality?

I'd skip the Ruger and go with Colt, STI, Dan Wesson, Les Baer.

cavman
September 23, 2011, 04:13 PM
A plain Jane 1911 to a top-of-the line 1911 are all capable of having a sweet trigger.

As rcmodel said, it can be as easy as you with a good sear jig and a little know how to get one.

NMGonzo
September 23, 2011, 07:01 PM
Why people like the old style single action so much?

Because it is easy to use and get good at it.

Warning!

It will spoil you when you try it.

Jolly Rogers
September 23, 2011, 07:29 PM
And it's very easy to tune.

Giving the right sear jig and a little knowledge & skill, even a cave man can do it!

rc


I'm glad you offered the qualifications the "cave man" needs. The reports I have read on the various forums that describe free hand trigger jobs using emery boards and/or Dremels make me cringe...:eek:
Joe

1911Tuner
September 23, 2011, 07:32 PM
It's not only the clean break. The short reset enters into it, too.

Zerodefect
September 23, 2011, 07:48 PM
I'm glad you offered the qualifications the "cave man" needs. The reports I have read on the various forums that describe free hand trigger jobs using emery boards and/or Dremels make me cringe...:eek:
Joe

The only hard part is restraining yourself from cutting too much, holding the stupid sear jig, and cutting the secondary edge on the sear. Then alighning the hammer and sear on the outside of your frame with the pins in to use your frame as a jig to check engagement.

That secondary edge is just rounding the back a bit. I don't think it's too big of a deal. I've done a few with good results, but I'm no expert. I actually like the creepy bad one I made with old scrap kimber parts. It's lighter feeling. I'm not sure the glass rod break is really the best solution for bullseye.....maybe I'm on to something new.

I still haven't figured out if I'm supposed to move the feeler guage shim with the stone or not when doing the primary edge? If you move the shim you're making a rounded edge. Moving the shim changes the angle you're cutting. If you hold it still you're making a crisp flat angled edge.

I think Wilson's most expensive sear needs no work? Just clean up your hammer and drop 'em in.

schmeky
September 23, 2011, 09:40 PM
1911 Tuner,

Beat me to it. Yes, the reset is the reset all others are measured by. Not to mention the ease of getting the trigger to break like glass in the 2.5-3.5# range.

So, 100 years later and it's still the standard in many respects.

rellascout
September 23, 2011, 09:55 PM
Crisp clean break, fast reset and consistent when done right. What more could you possibly ask from a trigger? JMB knew what he was doing.

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01811/M1911_A1_pistol-br_1811742c.jpg

Zerodefect
September 24, 2011, 10:03 AM
100 years and still there isn't a single other pistol with a trigger as nice as a 1911.

That's odd. You'd think Glock, HK, or someone would offer a decent modern single action pistol by now.

Get rid of the barrel link and bushing, higher capactiy frame, even 9mm maybe? But nothing. The only real milestones to have come out with a fresh new design since the 1911 are the Glocks and Kahrs. Kinda sad really.

msparks
September 24, 2011, 10:31 AM
Okay, keep on fueling my 1911 fever! No seriously it's going to be my next gun.

Nushif
September 24, 2011, 11:06 AM
They are great guns. I sometimes really wish one of my favorite gunmakers decided to head in the direction of making a true single action gun based on a similar design philosophy.
Let's face it. 1911s are heavy. And they do have limited capacity ... But a trigger like that is well worth it.

Zerodefect
September 24, 2011, 11:09 AM
Okay, keep on fueling my 1911 fever! No seriously it's going to be my next gun.

'K.
http://i584.photobucket.com/albums/ss290/zerodefect2533/DSC02050.jpg

greyling22
September 24, 2011, 11:34 AM
I agree with zerodefect. I can't believe nobody else really makes a SA trigger. (I know of the hi-power, cz75sa and the witness elite match, and that's about it outside of .22's.)

JTQ
September 24, 2011, 11:36 AM
greyling22 wrote,
I can't believe nobody else really makes a SA trigger.
Give a big "welcome back" to the Sip P210.
http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProductDetails/p210.aspx

greyling22
September 24, 2011, 12:17 PM
$2000 pistol eeeeeeek!

but yes, apparently I missed one. Thanks.

Bobson
September 24, 2011, 12:30 PM
Ew. That P210 is the ugliest gun I've ever seen. Just my opinion, obviously. Pretty unsightly though.

Also, I was going to post up a thread asking this a while back, but decided against it. But now that this thread is here, I'll go for it. A while back, I decided to fondle a 1911 for the first time, since I was in a gun shop anyway. I picked out a Springfield (don't recall which one it was, but I wanna say one of the GI models), and the guy behind the counter handed it to me. I [made sure the gun was empty, etc, etc] racked the slide, pulled the trigger, and cringed. Put the gun down on the counter, said thanks, and walked away from the 1911 section of the glass case.

Worst trigger I've ever felt. Is this common before getting 1911 triggers worked on? Or was there somehow a bunch of sand and grit mixed in with the double-length spring that must have been behind that trigger?

TonyT
September 24, 2011, 12:47 PM
Since 1911's were designed strict for SA shooting the triggers can be tuned to provide very crisp let off and minimal reset. The pistols with DA/SA triggers do not allow that to be done as well. That being said I have seen some absolutely super triggers on CZ's performed by Angus Hobdell.

rcmodel
September 24, 2011, 01:01 PM
Is this common before getting 1911 triggers worked on?No.
But the trigger of a stock GI 1911A1 could be one of the ugliest triggers you ever pulled. The military was way more concerned about safety and ND's then match grade accuracy.

If the Springfield GI you handled was more or less correct, it would have a 5.5 to 6.5 trigger pull with some creep, and a lot of over-travel.
And probably some roughness until shot enough to wear off the baddies.

On the other hand, an out of the box Match grade Springfield might have one of the best triggers you ever felt, with a light 3 1/2 pound pull, crisp break, and no over-travel..

rc

rellascout
September 24, 2011, 01:16 PM
That P210 is the ugliest gun I've ever seen. Just my opinion, obviously. Pretty unsightly though.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The Swiss P210 guns, not the P210 Legend, will out shoot 99% of even tuned 1911s right out of the box. They shoot 2" groups at 50 meters and ship with the test target to prove it.

http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/2980/p210smallnk5.jpg

http://i1210.photobucket.com/albums/cc407/austintxlonghorn/SIG%20P210-6%20HF/DSCN8929-1.jpg

http://i1210.photobucket.com/albums/cc407/austintxlonghorn/SIG%20P210-6%20HF/DSCN9183-2-1.jpg

Walt Sherrill
September 24, 2011, 01:55 PM
I agree with zerodefect. I can't believe nobody else really makes a SA trigger. (I know of the hi-power, cz75sa and the witness elite match, and that's about it outside of .22's.)

You just aren't looking around, enough. SIG now has several 220 models with SA ONLY triggers. And most gun makers have a SA model stuck somewhere in their catalog. They just aren't as much in demand, and don't justify a lot of advertising hype.

As noted above, some of the Witness and CZ models have splendid SA triggers, when they've been tuned by somebody who knows how to do it. (And they typically improve with use, if you don't have it tuned.)

Beretta made a number of SA only models, including the COMBAT and CB, based on the 92. I guess the demand wasn't great enough for Beretta to continue them.

Walkalong
September 24, 2011, 02:23 PM
some of the Witness and CZ models have splendid SA triggers, when they've been tuned by somebody who knows how to do itAgreed.

GLOOB
September 24, 2011, 02:51 PM
1. They can be made fantastic.
2. That's their only redeeming quality, compared to other modern alternatives.

MrIzhevsk
September 24, 2011, 03:15 PM
Does anybody else make a gun that has a similar trigger pull as a 1911? That is, moving on a horizontal plane, and not on a hinge system?

Walt Sherrill
September 24, 2011, 03:49 PM
Does anybody else make a gun that has a similar trigger pull as a 1911? That is, moving on a horizontal plane, and not on a hinge system?

I really don't think THAT ("hinged" or "not hinged") aspect of the trigger makes that much difference.

For some of these guns, the trigger isn't moving THAT far that you can tell much difference. I would argue that the difference, where it exists, has more to do with the sear and hammer, than how the trigger puts things in motion.



.

rcmodel
September 24, 2011, 03:58 PM
+1

Perhaps one of the finest out of the box .22 Match gun triggers can be found on the Model 41 S&W.

And it has a hinged trigger with a draw-bar linking it to the sear.

rc

RC20
September 24, 2011, 04:22 PM
A single action trigger in a 1911 Semi Auto is a pure design. It has no compromises trying to do more than one thing, which is let off the sear to fire the gun. (note a Revolver is a different beast and the Colt Python was the finest example of hos smooth and sweet a Revolver DA could be).

A DA/SA trigger in a semi auto has to function in two modes, let alone cock the hammer. Its impossible to get the fine crisp let off that a 1911 has (or can have, GI guns excepting the factory guns are all better than the best DA/SA Semi Auto of which I am a devout follower).

Ergo there is a compromise or limitation on the function in a DA/SA Semi Auto. You can make it better, but not as good as a run of the mill 1911.

On the other hand the DA/SA Semi Auto triggers can be made pretty good, close enough as not to be an issue for vast majorly of the user.

RC20
September 24, 2011, 04:24 PM
+1

Perhaps one of the finest out of the box .22 Match gun triggers can be found on the Model 41 S&W.

And it has a hinged trigger with a draw-bar linking it to the sear.


True, it is one sweet trigger, scary if you have been shooting other stuff, it fires just thinking about it.

GLOOB
September 24, 2011, 04:39 PM
^ I wonder how it compares to my 686-1. The trigger doesn't appear to move before or during the break. And after it breaks, it moves just a hair - forward.

RockyMtnTactical
September 24, 2011, 04:44 PM
1911 triggers are awesome, that is why. :)

rodinal220
September 25, 2011, 10:18 AM
pak29:"Is there some inherent design advantage to the trigger mechanism on 1911s that makes them crisper or superior to other guns in single-action mode?"

Yes,JMB designed one of THE best pistol triggers period.It can be tuned to perfection and has a very quick reset as pointed out by Tuner.Its no mystery as to why the 1911 platform dominates many pistol sports.

tuj
September 25, 2011, 10:32 AM
My Les Baer I bought used came setup with a 1.75lb trigger. It was scary light. But it passed all the safety tests, so I think its a testament to the design that its possible to get that light and remain a safe trigger. I swapped sear springs to a new Colt and I now have a 3.5lb trigger with the same incredible break. Virtually no take-up, no over-travel. I have an IZH-35m target pistol and I thought it had a very good trigger until I felt the Baer.

BCRider
September 25, 2011, 12:13 PM
I seriously doubt that JMB planned on his creation still being popular over 100 years after he created it. Also a LOT of the reasons for various design features would have been centered on how to produce the pistol and how it would assemble and field strip with minimal tool usage. If you look at the design in that light then all the features work, including the horizontally running trigger with no hinge pin that requires a punch to remove.

As for tuning? Well, any trigger can be tuned. And I've shot guns with triggers that are as good as a well tuned 1911. Oddly enough they were all single action guns made by other companies. The magic with the 1911 is that they ARE popular so a lot of effort has been put into learning what makes them work. And that ability to tune them for a variety of uses ensures that they will continue to be popular.

So getting back to Pak54's original question.... No, the 1911 isn't the only gun which will change how you view triggers. But it's likely the one you'll run across. And yes, as pointed out by a couple of posters a 1911 trigger can be positively horrible or it can feel like the finest micro switch ever made or set up for crisp but firm feel for safer self defense use. It can do all that with just a bit of tuning. Yet as noted there are no lack of out of the box guns which have excellent triggers. It just depends on how the factory set them up and how much attention the assembler pays to getting things right. The triggers on the budget 1911's will not see the same level of attention during assembly. So expect some variety in their feel. Just like the variety you'll get in any $500 to $600 gun. But once you cross into 4 figures expect the trigger to be something really special.... just as special as one of the $500 DA/SA guns with a nice trigger job but without the takeup that is unavoidable in a DA/SA gun being shot in SA mode.

Rail Driver
September 25, 2011, 12:47 PM
Get rid of the barrel link and bushing, higher capactiy frame, even 9mm maybe? That pretty much sounds like a Browning Hi-Power to me. Some people called the Hi-Power a 1911, refined. I think that if it hadn't been for the French influence (mag safety), and if the Hi-Power was made in .45ACP, it really would be. I'd love to see a custom Hi-Power in .45ACP, with no mag safety and all the nice things we love about these two designs combined.

I absolutely love my Colt 1911 trigger (work done by Bill Alexander; Tallahassee, FL). I used to hear people talk about what a great trigger such and such 1911 had on it, and I never really knew what people were talking about. Now that I've fired (and subsequently spent an obscene amount of money on) a 1911 I understand what they mean. I carry a G26 as backup and the trigger is the expected mushy Glock trigger. I used to have a Browning Hi-Power (T-series, Belgian) that I stupidly traded for something not even close to worth it... The trigger was a little heavy, but smooth and with a consistent break.

My 1911 trigger has a short takeup, no creep at all. A sharp break at 3.4lbs every time, and a very short reset. The first shot is smooth, and follow up shots are fast and easy. The 1911 trigger allows me to get a MUCH faster rate of fire than the Glock or other DA/SA triggers I've tried.

http://a4.l3-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/151/365fdebd10c14a968efa600726fc2e90/l.jpg

brickeyee
September 25, 2011, 04:55 PM
The most complicated part of the 1911 trigger action is the disconnector.

Luckily it has no part in actual trigger operation of tripping the sear out of engagement with the hammer.

The cross pin moves through each of the four corners off the disconnecter as the gun cycles and the disconnector moves up and down and forward and back., but it all takes place after the hammer has fallen.

HisSoldier
September 25, 2011, 05:05 PM
The 1911 trigger train is symmetrical. all forces are shared to both sides and there is no asymmetrical bending or loading forces in it. The BHP on the other hand is a nightmare of asymmetrical forces going all round robin hoods barn for one reason, to accommodate the double stack mag. I've read that it's to avoid patent infringement of his own design in the 1911 but I don't think that was it.

Having worked over my own BHP trigger really makes me appreciate the 1911. The sole reasoning behind the 1911 ignition train is to apply a symmetrical force on a symmetrical sear with balanced forces, I really think JMB was thinking of how to optimize the trigger forces, and he accomplished the goal.

harmon rabb
September 25, 2011, 05:11 PM
Today, I shot my kel-tec P11 and my springfield EMP (tuned by Dawson) back to back. I'm not sure a bigger trigger dichotomy exists. The P11 is god awful, and my EMP is like sex personified as a trigger, pull is around 3lbs with a bit of slack, zero creep, and a very short reset. I managed to short stroke the P11 a bunch of times, something I have never done even with a DA revolver.

Care to guess which target looked better? ;)

1911's are easy to shoot well, and the trigger is one of the reasons for that. As such, they're popular.

HKGuns
September 25, 2011, 08:43 PM
Because the alternative, in most cases, was a revolver.

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